Brake lever issues return for Rea at Most: "We have one more option to try tomorrow…"

Saturday, 30 July 2022 14:00 GMT

Six-time World Champion Jonathan Rea didn’t have it easy in Race 1 at Most as nagging brake lever issues continue to plague him

The 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s first race day of the Prosecco DOC Czech Round was a dramatic one as the Autodrom Most once again delivered one of the most intense and intriguing races of the season. The Czech venue, new for 2021 and back on the calendar this year, saw the Championship contenders fight it out tooth-and-nail and it was another bar-to-bar battle to enjoy. However, one rider who didn’t come out of the race making any in-roads on the Championship lead was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), with the six-time World Champion once again struggling with his brake lever coming back to his handlebar despite showing strong signs of improvement until the end of the race.

Starting from pole position, Rea was beaten to the holeshot by fast-starting arch-rival Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK), before the two were embroiled in another fight on track. After a collision at the start of Lap 2, Rea made his move for the lead on Lap 6 at Turn 15 and the two battled hard, Razgatlioglu back in control by the start of Lap 7. Rea tried again on Lap 7 at Turn 15 but again, Razgatlioglu responded at Turn 1 on Lap 8 but ran wide, allowing Rea to lead. However, Lap 10 would be pivotal as Rea hit the front before Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) also arrived on the scene to pass Razgatlioglu, whilst Bautista took the lead at the start of Lap 11 and was never troubled. Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) also got in the mix and was into second, leaving Razgatlioglu and Rea to battle.

Going into the final lap, Razgatlioglu got ahead of Redding with a bold move at Turn 13, pushing Redding back into the claws of Rea, who had dropped back to fourth. Rea tried to pass Redding at Turn 15 but ran too wide, with Redding leaning on him and having the position back by Turn 17, before defending valiantly on his ex-title rival into the final two corners to hold on for a first full-race podium, whilst Rea was left in fourth.

Speaking about the race later in the afternoon, Rea said: “We have to be content with our race; I felt really good but just ran into some little issues at the end of the race which held me back in the braking areas in a couple of corners. A little bit of brake fade, with the lever coming all the way back to the bar and I couldn’t put the pressure on the lever. Coupled with the fact that I couldn’t put the bike in position or stop so much, I was losing a little bit of time. Anyway, I have to be very content as we made a step from yesterday with my consistency in the middle part of the race and the pace was quite good. I think there were just some spots of rain halfway through the rain and I was out front and I didn’t want to be the guinea pig to go down in the wet.

Rea’s fourth place finish means that he gives up 12 points to Championship leader Alvaro Bautista, as he is now 29 points behind. As well as that, Rea gave up seven points to Toprak Razgatlioglu, with the reigning World Champion coming home in second. Bautista leads the way on 271 whilst Rea sits in second on 242, whilst Razgatlioglu is now 19 behind Rea in third, on 223.

Resuming about the brake issues he’s suffered, Rea commented that they also had it at Donington Park: “It’s something we struggled with at Donington Park as well and we’ve tried preventing the problem all weekend. We’ve tried a couple of different braking systems, different size disks etc, and we have one more option to try tomorrow to be more consistent, so that I can ride how I want in the corners where we’ve been struggling. Besides that, the bike was pretty good all around the track, apart from down the straight where I was losing out in third, fourth and fifth gear. Everywhere else, the ZX-10RR was unreal.”

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